The day began at the MetroCentre Station where a Wall Display to promote the line was unveiled. The Metro Centre is one of the largest shopping centres in the UK and has its own railway station on the Tyne Valley line. The Wall Display filled a blank wall on the bridge linking the Centre with the railway station and coach park.Space on the wall at the Metro Centre was arranged by Dr. Gareth Evans, Intu'sTransport Manager, who is also a member of the Board of the Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership (TVCRP).
The display was the work of our Marketing Director, Anne Ridley and designer Rachel Griffiths of Image Rail a company based locally on the Tyne Valley line at Naworth. The display shows the route of the line from Newcastle to Carlisle and the attractions in the various town and villages en-route.
Guests were entertained by Herbert one of the Metrognomes who kept everyone amused with his antics and hugs. He greeted everyone from the trains and greatly added to the occasion.
The ribbon was cut by Gareth Evans from Intu Metro Centre. “It is great to work with a partnership to help promote the Tyne Valley Line. The display brightens up an area on the Intu Metro Centre bridge link. We are looking forward to the additional rail services to Carlisle and Hexham beginning in May”.
Kul Bassi Community Rail Team Leader, from the DfT was “Delighted to be at the heart of the TVCRP and to hear how they bring life into the new Community Rail Strategy. I am highly impressed with the volunteers delivering a work plan”.
In the afternoon the guests took the train to Haltwhistle which is the Education Centre for the TVCRP. Here they inspected the work of Lanercost Primary School who recently visited the Centre to learn about safety on the railway.
There was also an opportunity to inspect the newly created Roman Wall, which is in the process of being made. This is a prop which is to be taken to Community Rail in the City which is to be held in Glasgow Central Station on 15th May. The aim is to encourage the Glasgow commuters to visit the attractions of the Tyne Valley and the nearby Roman Wall, arriving by train of course!!
Alex Bray, Stakeholder Liaison Manager with Cross Country summed the day, “It is fantastic to see some of the innovative partnerships coming together such as the Into Metro Centre and the TVCRP. Lots of people are passing through and getting a flavour of the line. It was nice to see the Roman Wall making its way to Glasgow!”.
February saw the cascade of un-refurbished stock arriving in the Tyne Valley line in the form of 156's and 158's from Manchester or Scot Rail. These are very comfortable but in need of some tlc.
Tuesday 6th March was “Northern Digital Trains Stakeholder Day – North East”. In the morning Northern held a conference for key stakeholders which included business updates from Anna Weeks, Interim Regional Director North East, and Kerry Cross, Head of Trains and Stations North East, and presentations from the Digital Trains Project Team.
The Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership (TVCRP) Officer, Fiona Forsythe, was invited to present a paper on the achievements of the TVCRP. The meeting was highly technical but as a reward to the Stakeholders, Northern gave a lunch for them and the offer of a journey on a newly refurbished 158. The Stakeholders from the TVCRP were invited to board the 13.20 train to Morpeth, which was number 158849 which looked very splendid in its refurbished colours. This train began service at Carlisle and travelled along the Tyne Valley to Newcastle before continuing along the main line calling at all stations to Morpeth.
We have recently taken delivery of our new "Explore the North" leaflet, promoting travel on the Tyne Valley Railway". They are now available in display racks across the North. Have you seen one? If so, it would be lovely if you could take a photo and post it on our facebook page @TVCRP.
We are delighted to be working with Tyne and Wear Heritage Forum to offer three train and guided walks as a fringe to the main conferenence.
Taking place on Friday 22nd March, the day before TWHF's conference, these train and guided walks explore 'heritage trails' in three communities in the Tyne Valley.